Eric Wright Group has started work on the long-awaited extension of Chorley’s Market Walk shopping centre, nearly two years after a £17m funding package was signed off for the project.
The contractor broke ground at the scheme last Monday, which will see a new cinema, a two-storey car park, restaurants, retail, and public realm improvements all added to Market Walk, which is owned by Chorley Council.
It will also include an M&S Foodhall after the retailer committed in August to open a store at the site; it had previously threatened to pull out of the scheme as part of its ongoing drive to close outlets across the country.
Other tenants include café bar Loungers which is taking one of the units, while the council added negotiations were continuing with a high street restaurant chain and a national gym chain looking to sign up. Lambert Smith Hampton in Manchester and Knight Frank in London are retail agents for the project, while the extension has been designed by AEW Architects.
A £17m funding package for the Market Walk extension was first agreed by Chorley Council in September 2016, and construction work was expected to start this summer. Despite work getting under way slightly behind schedule, the council is still aiming to have the extension open by Christmas 2019.
Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “To get M&S to open a new store here while they are closing in other places is a real coup and it shows the confidence that some of the biggest names have in what we are doing and it will undoubtedly bring new people into the town centre.
“Interest will start to firm up in the other units and we will keep people updated as things progress.”